Dec 1 2011

Youth Reporting–Aided by NewsHour

Outsiders’ voices making inroads at PBS

Photo Credit: PBS

“There are a lot of marginalized communities that really need to be involved in this struggle,” insists a young woman from the People of Color Working Group of Occupy Wall Street. Another organizer reflects, “Marginalized communities from New York City, particularly oppressed people, people of color…were totally underrepresented, and it was unclear if that was going to change. But it has. It really, really has.” These critiques of Occupy Wall Street, by some of the young people shaping and propelling the growing protest, are not typical stories you see on websites and broadcasts of major news outlets. Even as Occupy […]

Dec 1 2011


December 2011

TV’s Left Is Morgan Stanley, Not Occupy “We Democrats can’t criticize Republicans for catering to the Tea Party and not say to our Democratic Party, you got to look beyond Occupy and be willing to do what’s in the best interest of the country.” —Morgan Stanley managing director and former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., appearing as the leftmost pundit on Meet the Press (10/23/11) Retiring as Not Right Enough Conservative writer/commentator David Frum—who coined the phrase “axis of evil” as a Bush speechwriter—announced he would stop doing left/right debates with Robert Reich for the public radio show Marketplace (10/12/11). […]

Dec 1 2011

Steve Jobs and the Cult of the CEO

Like Da Vinci or the Dalai Lama—only better

Several labor unions came together on October 5 in support of the Occupy Wall Street protests, leading to a march of thousands in downtown Manhattan. Populist MSNBC host Ed Schultz was live on the scene—but devoted the top of his broadcast to the breaking news that Apple Computers founder Steve Jobs had just died. It made for an incongruous TV moment: a labor-friendly host in front of a boisterous anti-corporate crowd, joining with Bloomberg pundit Jonathan Alter to pay tribute to a billionaire CEO. “He was one of the great figures of American history,” explained Alter. Schultz added: “This protest […]

Dec 1 2011

Missing Al Jazeera’s ‘Moment’

News you can’t see anywhere else—if you can see it

Photo Credit: Al Jazeera

The Qatar-based TV news network Al Jazeera is quickly becoming one of the world’s most important international news outlets. Since launching its English-language affiliate, Al Jazeera English (AJE), in 2006, the network has extended its reach into 250 million homes in more than 100 countries (Arab Media and Society, Spring/11). In the United States, though, AJE is nearly blacked out, only available in a few markets, including Toledo, Ohio; Burlington, Vermont; Washington, D.C.; and, most recently, New York City. Cable operators have given various reasons for why they’ve shut out AJE: a lack of interest in the network, a lack […]

Dec 1 2011

Lives Worth Reporting in the Disability Rights Movement

A history still unfolding—and largely unheeded

Lives Worth Living, an independent documentary on the U.S. disability rights movement that aired recently on PBS, traces the emergence and growth of activism through the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act—a fact noted in a respectful New York Times review (10/26/11) that was all the notice big media appeared to take of the film, billed as the first such treatment of this crucial social justice movement. The Times’ Neil Genzlinger noted in closing that the “impact” of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications, is […]

Dec 1 2011

Questions Are Discouraged When Women in Military Die

Pentagon seeks to spin, squelch stories on female fatalities

Photo Credit:

More than 140 U.S. military women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the military has officially placed nearly 50 of these deaths in the ambiguous “non-combat” category (Democracy Now!, 7/23/08). Some women’s veterans and advocacy groups, such as VETWOW (Veteran Women Organizing Women), say at least 20 of these non-combat deaths are suspicious, and their families are speaking out to some degree, questioning the military’s official explanations. In at least two of the 20 deaths under scrutiny, the military has tried to strongarm media that were questioning the official ruling —in one case threatening to pull military advertising if […]

Dec 1 2011

Media Justice and the 99 Percent Movement

How net neutrality helped Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street media center (cc photo: Mat McDermott)

The democratization of media-making tools, particularly an open and unfettered Internet, made the Occupy movemnet possible. Right now, though, this open access is under threat.